the new non-idle rich!

The NYT, which is caught between a love for the one percent that blooms in its style magazine and its business page and a political atmosphere in which the chummy relationship between liberalism and the one percent is coming apart, unrollsanother of its color pieces about the lifestyles of the rich. It features one Adam Katz in its first paragraph: “Adam Katz is happy to talk to reporters when he is promoting his business, a charter flight company based on Long Island called Talon Air.” So what did the Times reporters ask him?

Well, we are not far into the article when, breezing past the assets – “…an $8 million home, a family real estate company in Manhattan and his passion, 10-year-old Talon Air” … we are assured that, like so many of the 1 percent, Talon is a dynamo, a man who makes your average doublejob mom or dad seem like a slacker:

“”Still, they are not necessarily the idle rich. Mr. Katz, who sometimes commutes by amphibious plane and sometimes carries luggage for Talon Air passengers, likes to say he works “26/9.”
Of course, the NYT – as its Public Editor, Arthur Brisbane, recently put it – isn’t in the business of the “truth”. If a presidential candidate or a rich man says something, it is the Times policy to simply print it, and let he who has an hour to kill and Google find out if it is true or not. Such a comforting doctrine! Luckily, I am one of the idle non-rich, and having the time, I goodled Mr. Katz, and found that, in other interviews, Mr. 26/9 gives a different peek at his life. Especially revealing was his interview with OceanHome, which, you will be surprised to hear, does not contain any stories about CEO Katz manfully struggling to manipulate a hundred pound suitcase into his jet’s tight suitcase storage space.  He paints a different view of his time expenditure – for instance, in response to the question about what he did when he bought his current mansion in Nassau County: 
“After purchasing it in 2007, I did a $3.5 million gut renovation, rebuilding it as a six-bedroom smart house, using a Creston system for controlling everything from lighting, sound, and temperature control to operating any of the 20 flat-screen TVs that fold down from the ceilings. I added a movie theater, a solarium with a sunken hot tub, a customized gym, outdoor kitchens and fire pits, Jacuzzis, an infinity-edge pool, radiant heat terraces, and a dock for my 135-foot motoryacht and 47-foot Intrepid speed boat, with Ipe (Brazilian Walnut) steps leading to a private beach.”
You might think that all these accoutrements make it even sadder that he is spending 7 days a week away from home. But don’t cry! It turns out that he sometimes his working time is spent amid the solarium, Jacuzzis and pool: 

What do you love most about waterfront living?
I love the privacy of it all, and the views are always spectacular, particularly when the sun sets across Manhattan. Better yet, I can commute to the city via my speedboat in 15 minutes.
Is one particular room in the house used most?
For me, it’s the 2,000-square-foot master bedroom, mostly because of the water views and the comfort of relaxing near a wood-burning fireplace. And it’s where my home office is. Like I said before, because the house was built in the round, it really feels like you’re sleeping on a ship at sea.

Still, “easy living”, as Ocean Home labels the article on a man who works harder than any four man in the bottom 99 percent, doesn’t always elude our hero. For instance, asked about the worst element in living in a house facing the ocean, Katz said: “Cold temperatures and wind are pretty intolerable during the winter months, which is why we head down to the Bahamas and live and sail around on the yacht.” 

Life, on the whole, is hard for the 1 percent: “They work longer hours, being three times more likely than the 99 percent to work more than 50 hours a week, and are more likely to be self-employed,” according to unreferenced stats in the NYT article. But I like to think that the fifty hours of week does have its softer side. I imagine, for instance, there might even be tax write-offs involved with working and sailing that yacht around the Bahamas. But these are mysteries the 99 percent know not of.


roger said…
ps - I ought to have pointed out that one of the unexplored reasons that the 1 percent work more than the 99 is - taxes. The incentive for the one percent is to find tax breaks for yachts and houses, and what better way than to claim you are working in them? And the incentive for the 99 percent is to work on the side and not tell the IRS you are doing so. This simple fact eludes the apologists for wealth.